Double Vision

Double Vision

3.46 (713 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback

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Description

Pat Barker's searing new novel about the atrocity of war and how two men struggle to come to terms with it. Stephen Sharkey and Ben Frobisher, journalist and photographer respectively, are regularly faced with the reality of war. After Ben dies on assignment in Afghanistan, Stephen embarks on a book about the images of war -- a book that will be based largely on Ben's work. But the demands of the present -- recurring nightmares of his time in Sarajevo, an affair with a woman twenty years his junior, and a sudden emergency in the shape of masked intruders -- are turning Stephen's life into a war zone and threatening his peace of mind. Can he keep sight of the distinctions between image and reality, war and crime, past and present?show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 158 x 234 x 38mm | 621.43g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • Hamish Hamilton Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0241141761
  • 9780241141762

Author information

Pat Barker's novels include UNION STREET, the REGENERATION Trilogy (comprising REGENERATION, THE EYE IN THE DOOR and THE GHOST ROAD), ANOTHER WORLD and BORDER CROSSING. She lives in Durham.show more

Review Text

The universal fears crystallized by 9/11 provide the initially gripping, ultimately limiting core material of this overheated tenth novel from the Booker-winning British author best known for her Regeneration Trilogy. Very capably written and insistently readable, it's an eventful narrative focused initially on sculptress Kate Frobisher, whose photojournalist husband Ben had moved on from covering the destroyed Twin Towers to Afghanistan, where he was killed by a sniper. Kate's story soon meshes with that of Stephen Sharkey, whose own experience of 9/11 coincided with the discovery of his wife's adultery. After divorcing her, Stephen moves in with his physician brother Robert's family in rural northern England, not far from Kate's home-and begins a book on the phenomenon of violence and our responses to it. Barker skillfully connects these protagonists and the acquaintances of each. Stephen falls for 19-year-old Justine Brathwaite, a vicar's daughter employed as an au pair caring for Robert Sharkey's autistic ten-year-old son Adam. And Kate, who's temporarily disabled following a car crash, continues work on a huge statue of Christ commissioned for a cathedral-with the hired assistance of Peter Wingrave, a menacing loner (and hopeful fiction writer) with a violent past, who is Justine's former boyfriend. Nobody heals, because Barker constructs an atmosphere so charged with real and threatened violence that her characters can scarcely breathe without screaming. Stephen attends the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague, where incriminating photographs display "Human bodies baked like dog turds in the sun." The Sharkeys' house is burgled, and Justine brutally injured. Robert Sharkey researches "treatments for Parkinson's and dementia." Barker's characters share virtually no moments that are not claustrophobic, fearful, or death-haunted. Consequently, however vividly and powerfully their experiences strike us, they are, in the final analysis, simply not credible. An honorable failure: heartfelt, unflinching, and oddly compelling. But this author has done, and will again do, much better. (Kirkus Reviews)show more
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